Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian, known as “Dr. Death” for helping more than 100 people end their lives, died early on Friday at age 83, his lawyer said. Kevorkian died at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, where he had been hospitalized for about two weeks with kidney and heart problems, said Mayer Morganroth, Kevorkian’s attorney and friend.
Kevorkian, a pathologist, was focused on death and dying long before he became a defiant advocate, crossing Michigan in the rusty Volkswagen van that carried his machine to help sick people end their lives. He launched his assisted-suicide campaign in 1990, allowing an Alzheimer’s patient to kill herself using a machine he had devised. He beat Michigan prosecutors four times before his conviction for second-degree murder in 1999.
Kevorkian was imprisoned for eight years for second-degree murder and was paroled in 2007. As a condition of his parole, he vowed not to assist in any suicides. He was convicted after a CBS News program aired showing a video of Kevorkian administering lethal drugs to a 52-year-old man suffering from debilitating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.